Piece by Piece: “what if”


Brian Higgins

Staff reporter Madison Saviano explores hot topics and issues that students face in her weekly column Piece by Piece.

Madison Saviano, Staff Reporter

It shocks me how a year from now I will be moving into a completely new stage of life. 

It saddens me how the change will separate me from people I’ve known for years. Faces I’ve gotten used to seeing in the hallway, teachers I’ve become attached to, acquaintances who I never got to quite know, but desperately wish I had the time to. 

I am so glad to have grown up with the same group of people. Some people have left and others have come, but my neighbors have stayed my neighbors for the most part and my peers have stayed my peers. There’s a common experience between us, even if we didn’t directly share it with each other. 

We all know of that english teacher who once notoriously gave the entire class lunch detention, or of that one history teacher from middle school who would regularly dress up in costume to shout quotes from Abigail Adams. “Remember the ladies,” she would remind. 

We also all know that in spite of such antics and idiosyncrasies, they were admittedly both phenomenal teachers. 

We learn things from these people, similar things probably, and this is why the common or “shared” experience is so valuable. It boggles my mind how the seedlings of Liberty High School will soon spread and sprout all across the nation, or world even. Maybe they will share the lessons of times and people and places past and maybe these lessons will take root in places abroad. 

It gives a kind of gravity to the teachings of childhood that some are keen to try to forget. Next to these lessons, there is undoubtedly trauma and pain. But these are lessons, too, and I really believe you take from them what you want. 

Spheres of influence are interesting to dissect, and the knowledge that wherever you land you will likely land next to another of similar origin is comforting.

In the microcosm that is high school, it’s easy to see how we are all interconnected. When I migrate to bigger ponds, it’s the kind of thing I don’t want to forget. 

And in spite of all these bittersweet nuances, it is an astoundingly exciting time. All of life’s avenues are open in this little window where chance and opportunity come to a head, and the words “what if” are once again cropping up in our minds. It’s a hopeful time, one reminiscent of the days when we were sure we were destined to be astronauts and world renowned ballerinas. 

There’s a startling realization at some point in between those days and the ones which we are experiencing now. We figure out from trial and error or flat out denial that maybe we are indeed not capable of reaching the stars. Maybe we are plainly not athletic or intelligent or stable enough. It leaves us asking “well, if I’m none of that, then what am I?” 

The answer to that is always changing. A lot of it is up to decision, and some of it is unfortunately not. We have no control over many many things, the attributes above being some of them. Depression is also one of the things belonging on that list, along with loss and mourning as well. Among these many griefs, you are more than likely to be the lucky spinner of one of them. It’s a hard thing to reconcile with, but maybe your experience thus far in life has already helped teach you how.

The great silver lining in all of this is that nothing lasts forever and that things, for better or worse, are always changing. Your mind is always changing as well. So what you can’t be an astronaut?